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Attending Career Day at Armstrong Middle School in Plano, Texas

Attending Career Day at Armstrong Middle School in Plano, Texas 2000 1000 BrandFiend

We had the amazing opportunity of attending Armstrong Middle Schools’ Annual Career Day this past Friday. With career vendors such as Buffalo Wild Wings, Baylor University, Texas A&M, Dallas Fire Department, and many more, it was great to provide the kids with a different perspective on career opportunities. Being set up directly next to Buffalo Wild Wings, many of the kids immediately rushed to them, to try their sauces of course lol. But once they came to check out what we do at Brand Fiend, a lot of them were amazed. I was able to briefly break down the things that we do and one thing that caught everyone’s attention is that we create Snap Chat filters (kids LOVE Snap Chat). They automatically assumed we created the dog filter but I had to let them down easily by letting them know we don’t create the generic Snap Chat filters but we do create them for businesses and they were still impressed. I would guesstimate that I talked to over 200 kids at the event and even came across some future graphic designers which is always good to hear. Maybe one day they’ll be apart of the Brand Fiend family!

I’d like to give a huge thank you to Armstrong Middle School for having us at their event. It feels great to speak to kids about their future goals and open them up to other available opportunities when it comes to careers. Hope to see you all next year!

Owner, Jesse Alex Reflects on his 10 Years Since Graduating High School

Owner, Jesse Alex Reflects on his 10 Years Since Graduating High School 2000 1000 BrandFiend

One minute you’re graduating High School then you blink your eyes and you’re almost 30. Sometimes life happens so fast that we forget to slow down to see what’s really going on. Since starting Brand Fiend in March of 2015 I’ve learned that self awareness is key. Knowing what your strengths are is essential and most importantly, knowing what you’re not so good at is very important, too. What I’ve realized is that if you pay attention to small details throughout your life, you’ll really start to understand who you are and why you’re in the position you’re in this very moment. These days people on the internet tend to only tell you about the good things going on in their life. But I’ve realized that it was mainly the things I thought were bad at the time, that have shaped me into the person who started Brand Fiend. I decided to give a ten year breakdown of the good, and not so good to show just how important it is to never give up:

2006: Graduated High School at Jennings Senior High in St. Louis MO.
2006: Accepted basketball scholarship from a Junior College in Missouri.
2007: Quit the basketball team after not seeing eye to eye with the coach.
2007: Got my first job working at a gas station, continued going to school for Business Management.

2007: Ran off the road in winter storm, crashed into a pole.
2008: Got fired from the gas station.
2008: Worked as Domino’s Pizza delivery driver.
2008: Realized I didn’t like driving that often, quit Domino’s.
2008: Moved to Atlanta GA with two childhood friends to attend the Art Institute for Graphic/Web Design.
2009: Moved into my first apartment then had to break my lease because I was in over my head.
2010: Gave the modeling/acting thing a shot.

2010: Fired from Warehouse temp job.

2010: Started online magazine called Popular Mag Online, featuring upcoming artist and talent.

2010: Interviewed Cory Hardict for a feature on Popular Mag Online.

2011: Appeared as an extra in BET’s The Game and VH1s Single Ladies.

2011: Dropped out of school.
2011: Jumped from temp job to temp job.
2011: Appeared in small role in BET’s Reed Between The Lines as Tracee Ellis Ross patient.

2011: Worked as a Social Media Manager for a Digital Communications company.
2011: Got a call for a featured role on a Disney made for TV movie “Let it Shine”. But while contemplating on how I would take off from work, I waited too long & they booked somebody else.
2012: Fired from 3 temp jobs as I tried balancing work and chasing my dreams.

2012: Apartment lights get cut off.
2012: Moved back home to St. Louis to get back on my feet mentally and financially.

2012: Stopped running Popular Mag Online after being discouraged about the move back home.

2012: 20k in student loan debt.
2012: Hired at YP.com aka The Yellow Pages in Marketing & Advertising.
2013: Started a digital hip hop brand called Music Villain.
2014: Top 10 in Advertising Sales at YP.
2014: Moved to Dallas Texas
2015: Started Brand Fiend
2015: Shut down Music Villain. Decided to put all my energy in Brand Fiend.
2015: Hired at The Dallas Morning News in Marketing & Advertising.
2016: (I’ll talk about what happened at The Dallas Morning News at a later date, which will explain what led me to entrepreneurship)
2016: Became full time entrepreneur with Brand Fiend.
2016: Interviewed by AT&T for their small business/entrepreneur section.
Currently: I’m still nowhere near where I want to be. But I’m working 12-16 hours a day to make Brand Fiend what it’s meant to be, which is bigger than me.

FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS.

 

 

7 Tips on Taking The Leap of Faith

7 Tips on Taking The Leap of Faith 3000 3000 BrandFiend

We know it’s hard… We know it’s scary… But most of us have been there before. Do I take that leap? Do I stay content with where I’m at now? For those of you ready to take your own unconventional leap of faith but are scared out of your mind, here are some words of wisdom that I’ve gathered along the way, I hope they support you in taking your own path of joyful courage.

1. Listen to the voice in your head.

Your inner voice has some very important things to say. I think of it as a more evolved version of yourself.

2. Believe in your passion.

Being in the unknown can be scary as hell, but try to replace your fear with desire for the passion you are pursuing! Take 5-10 minutes every day and visualize it. What does it look like? What does it feel like? Who is around you? When you can stay in that beautiful energetic state that is desire, you are more likely to cultivate your passion with ease.

3. Let yourself be supported by like-minded people.

In my early 20’s this one was tough for me but we can’t take courageous journeys alone. It’s a community of people who are taking a similar leap of faith.

4. Quit comparing yourself to others around you.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in timelines and compare yourself to what your peers have already cultivated. Everyone has their own respective journey of what they’re manifesting in life. Focus on your desires, and trust that if you pay attention to what you want, it will happen exactly as it’s supposed to.

5. Don’t let money determine your success.

Know that your are talented despite what your bank account may say. We all go through rough times, you’re not alone. Always see the bigger picture.

6. Celebrate your accomplishments.

On the road to success, you’ll always endure bumps along the way. The path is never clearly laid out, but we get clues along the way that give us assurance that we’re not out-of-our-minds for pursuing our dreams.

7. Just do it!

All of these things above have no meaning if you don’t get out & do it.

I know there are so many people out there that are ready to take your own leap of faith and are not doing it because you are scared out of your mind. This post is for your motivation. Follow your heart and do it!

 

3 Ways Instagram’s New Business Profiles Will Help Your Brand

3 Ways Instagram’s New Business Profiles Will Help Your Brand 2000 1000 BrandFiend

Instagram had confirmed earlier this year that it was developing business profiles – basically, the Instagram equivalent to a Facebook Brand Page. Now, we’re able to see what these profiles look like as they’ve been spotted on various accounts. The profiles offer a variety of useful features for those who run a business account on Instagram, including a “Contact” button, access to maps and directions, and the ability to categorize the business by type. The most visible difference between the business profile and a personal one is the new, white “Contact” button at the top of the screen, to the left of the “Follow” button. Here are 3 ways it will help you use your Instagram more effectively:

Contact – When pressed, a pop-up menu appears offering the ability to email the account. It’s interesting that Instagram is choosing to allow businesses to receive traditional emails instead of relying on Instagram’s own DM method – but that also makes sense, as many businesses today prefer email rather than to be DM’d.

Directions – Users are also able to get directions to the business right from their page. This will be especially useful in the case of local retailers who have, to date, been working around the inability to include business information like this by putting their location in their bio. Plus, users are able to click on the location tag in order to launch a map interface.

Personalized Categories – This is useful in terms of letting consumers know what kind of business is represented, but it could also help Instagram to curate its feed in the future, or even its newly launched, themed video channels in its “Explore” section.

INSTAGRAM BUSINESS PROFILE-BRAND FIEND-FIEND BLOG

 

 

3 Things That Will Lead To Lasting Fulfillment

3 Things That Will Lead To Lasting Fulfillment 3000 3000 BrandFiend

Everybody is walking through life at this very moment, trying to come up with a magic formula for finding and sustaining happiness. I don’t know about you, but I need to keep things simple and in perspective at all times. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have it all figured out, nobody does. But what I will tell you is that on this road called life, I’ve found some constant things that result in having sustained happiness. So I listed 3 important practices below which you can integrate immediately in your life, whether it be on a business or personal level. Thank us later 🙂

Focus on the positives – You’ve probably had a rough time or a long road for where you are at now but we often forget to stop for a minute and think and write about our small wins so far. List a few things you are proud of in your life. Feel the connection with them. Feel the fulfillment.

Learn to say no – A lot of our frustrations come because we are over committing ourselves, we take too much on our plate etc. Just because we don’t have the guts to say “NO” at that moment. It is okay to say No. Allow yourself to not feel obligated to please everyone in the world. Don’t do busy work, do life’s work :).

Follow your passion(s) – Do more things that you’re passionate about. Think about your passions and ask yourself what do I like to do? and then do more of them. Even if you have to challenge yourself or put things aside. You will feel more energized and become more happy and fulfilled. I have no doubt!

Owner, Jesse Alex Talks Brand Fiend & More with The Culture Supplier

Owner, Jesse Alex Talks Brand Fiend & More with The Culture Supplier 500 500 BrandFiend

I had the opportunity to sit down with Marcus Gilmore, Publisher at The Culture Supplier as we discussed Brand Fiend, lessons I’ve learned as a business owner, and much more. The Culture Supplier is a Dallas based brand that highlights the latest news, tech, entrepreneurship, and more. Below is a link to the full interview, much thanks to Marcus & The Culture Supplier for taking the time to sit down with me! Wishing you much success.

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Meet Jesse Alex of Brand Fiend

Welcome Aqweela Green to the Brand Fiend Family

Welcome Aqweela Green to the Brand Fiend Family 1200 1200 BrandFiend

We are happy to announce that we’ve added a new member to the Brand Fiend team. Aqweela Green, public relations guru, will take on all public relations strategies going forward. Aqweela is a Kansas City native who attended college at The University of Missouri where she excelled in Communications. She’s had the opportunity to handle PR for a local photography company in Kansas City where she’s gained much knowledge and success. Her experience in media relations, task management, communications, and social media management will provide much needed value to the Brand Fiend family. We look forward to what’s in store with Aqweela as our Public Relations Specialist as we she will help offer more effective services for our clients. Welcome!

5 Ways to Help Better Communicate Via Email

5 Ways to Help Better Communicate Via Email 2000 1000 BrandFiend

Email is our biggest form of communication here at Brand Fiend. Correspondence sometimes is not as straightforward as it seems. Although it can be a helpful and effective way to communicate with colleagues and clients,  it can also be unhelpful and pretty nerve racking. Below are 5 tips we found to be effective for email communications.

Be clear and specific! Most of us have way too many emails and too little time in the day to read and respond to them. Keeping them short and to the point will help maximize the chance they are read (to the end of the message) and minimize the reader pressing “delete” before reading it.

Be prompt and respond to important emails. By responding a day or two after an email is sent shows you care about the message and the sender. Even if you are not able to attend to something right away,  telling the person you received it and when you will attend to is shows professionalism and attentiveness.

Use a clear subject line to name/clarify what your email is about. Since most of us receive a huge amount of email,  we need an easy way to know whether to open an email. The subject line is a helpful tool for this.

Include one topic per email. Although you may have numerous things to ask/say,  it is best to limit your requests or important news to one per email. In this way your subject line can reflect your message and your reader will know where to file it and how to address it (at a glance).

If you need to clarify or resolve a conflict or a misunderstanding,  pick up the phone. Although an automatic reaction,  especially if someone has misunderstood something in your email,  may be to send a quick email back,,  this is not advisable. Email is the worst type of conflict resolution and can exacerbate it.

 

8 Ways to Establish Your Start Up Brand

8 Ways to Establish Your Start Up Brand 3000 3000 BrandFiend

Getting the chance to work with start up brands is an amazing feeling. We’re literally taking someone’s thoughts, and bringing it to reality. We absolutely love it. Sometimes entrepreneurs have amazing ideas, but don’t understand what comes with having a strong brand. They recognize the link between successful businesses and strong branding and aspire to build a brand that emulates similar success for themselves, but there is sometimes still a disconnect for start-ups. One thing we try to educate business owners on is that branding is just as important for start ups as it is for larger companies. Indeed, many corporate brands try to look more like start ups in order to appeal to consumers that prefer to support independent brands.

“Branding is not just a logo or how your business is perceived externally. The heart of a successful business is it’s brand.” – Jesse Alex

Branding is a way of defining your business to yourself, your team and your external audiences. It could be called the business’ “identity”, but only on the understanding that it embodies the core of what the business is and its values, not just what it looks and sounds like. Below are 8 ways to help establish yourself as a start up brand, thank us later 🙂

1. Define your brand.

Review what it is that your brand offers, pinpoint the space in the market it occupies and research the needs and concerns of your potential customers. Your brand character should promote your business, connect with your customer base and differentiate you in the market.

2. Build long-term relationships with your customers.

Create trust with honest branding. Be clear who you are and be true to those values each & every day. This will help you build a long lasting relationship with everyone you work with.

3. Be innovative, stand for what you believe in.

Big brands are overwhelmed by large layers of bureaucracy, preventing them from being flexible and reacting to the ever-changing needs of their customers and the market. Those layers of decision-makers can make it extremely hard for them to be daring with their branding.

4. Don’t over saturate yourself.

The future of branding is fluid, simple, and engaging. Respect your customers’ intelligence by not giving everything away up front. Generate some intrigue and allow them to unearth more about your brand for themselves. This is the way to encourage ambassadors who love telling other people what they have discovered.

5. Don’t copy the competition.

There is a huge consumer trend towards independent establishments, and several chains are in fact trying to mimic an independent feel to capture some of that market. Truly independent operators can leverage their status to attract customers who are looking for something more original and authentic, that aligns with how they feel about themselves. It creates an organic relationship between you and the customer.

6. Stay true to your brand’s core values

When a company defines its brand strategy it also defines its value proposition, brand promise and brand personality traits. It is significant that everyone in the company understands these traits and practices them. Every employee should embody those traits and deliver on the company’s promises. This will strengthen the company’s competitive advantage in the market.

7. Give, give, give!

A great way to help your brand is to educate your customers. Share your knowledge and give free advice. When you educate and teach, people will appreciate you and look up to you as a leader and a mentor. Give before getting and your brand will build with raving customers in no time. Customers will help your brand, and word of mouth is by far the best referral your brand can get.

8. Commit to blogging

If you’re a thought leader in your industry, spread your insights with those around you on your blog. You’ll be surprised at the types of opportunities that will come your way. It’s an amazing networking tool because it allows people to get to know you on a larger scale.

Why Start Up Brands Are Perfectly Imperfect

Why Start Up Brands Are Perfectly Imperfect 3000 3000 BrandFiend

In honor of Small Business Saturday we decided to share some pretty cool reasons start up brands have such an amazing upside in today’s market. I like to think of Start-up Brands as perfectly imperfect – and that can work to their advantage. Unlike the established brands that present themselves as polished and refined, Challengers are a little edgy, unconventional and willing to push the envelope. That’s the kind of adventurous spirit that allows Start-up Brands to win over clients by winning over their minds.

Relationship-Building Between Clients & Your Brand 

Establishing a relationship between customers and your brand is key to creating brand loyalty. It’s human nature to want to feel a sense of belonging and connection, so it’s critical to clearly identify the Lighthouse Brand identity and consistently communicate the company’s personality throughout all marketing, advertising and social media outlets. Let your customers get to know the personality of your brand with all its lovable imperfections.

People Embrace Imperfection

Worried about building a perfect brand to that of your larger competitors? Think about it this way – in high school, was it easier to relate to the straight-A prom king/queen with perfect hair and a cool car (Mr. or Miss Perfect)? Or did you find it easier to approach the quirky, but cool kid with his/her own sense of style, who rode the bus and was friendly to everyone?

Define your Brand identity – who you are, your point of view and where you stand. Before you know it, your customers will like you, imperfections and all.